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Program Policy

The Library develops meaningful programs that are positioned to meet the needs and interests of the community.


• The Program Policy reflects the diverse needs of the Decatur community and the Library’s Strategic Plan to promote the love of reading and life-long discovery, helping ensure children and teens are ready and excited to learn, and offering robust connections to the digital world.

• The Library believes that programs are part of the broader content of a library: its experiences, spaces, materials, and collaborations. We seek to respond to our community’s needs and interests through this content.

• Through our programs we work to facilitate equitable experiences for engagement, education, and inspiration.


• The Library strives to achieve broad participation in its services, including attendance at and participation in programs. The Library's programs, as much as possible, should reflect the diversity of needs, interests, perspectives and backgrounds in the community

• The Library also seeks to provide awareness of those cultures, traditions and ideas not represented in the local community.

• The controversial nature of certain subjects, authors, speakers, hosts, or partners will not be cause for automatic inclusion or exclusion. Each program will be selected on its individual merit and role in the Strategic Plan. Decatur Public Library does not promote all of the ideas found in its programs nor the discussions those ideas may inspire, but provides the spaces and opportunities for those ideas and discussions.

• The Library protects the right of the individual to access information, even when the content may be controversial or unacceptable to others. Privacy and confidentiality are key tenets. As such, the Library upholds the American Library Association’s Library Bill of Rights position statement, including the Freedom to View and Freedom to Read.

• Decatur Public Library is committed to being a good steward of the community’s tax dollars and community assets.

Responsibility for Programs

Ultimate responsibility for programs rests with the City Librarian who operates within a framework of policies established by the Decatur Public Library Board of Trustees. The City Librarian delegates responsibility for Programs to the Head of Programs, Resources and Services. He or she may delegate responsibility for selection and maintenance of specific programs to various staff members, operating within the guidelines provided by the Policy.


The Library develops meaningful programs that are positioned to meet the needs and interests of the community as measured by attendance and surveys; and less formal inputs via conversations with the community and professional insights in the course of community engagement.


Program selection criteria are informed by:

• Community interests & impact

• National and international news and events

• Publishing and social trends

• Professional reviews and journals

• Staff professional expertise

• Availability of vetted volunteers

• Cost

• Available space

• Maintenance

Community requests and recommendations are welcomed and are subject to the same criteria as any other material.

Discontinuation of Serial Programs

Ongoing evaluation and review of library programs is necessary to maintain a viable use of space and time that meets the Library's needs and is of current interest to patrons. The Library will at least every six months evaluate all ongoing programs to assess continuing viability. Criteria will include attendance, participant feedback, perceived impact, and alignment with the Library’s Strategic Plan, Mission, Vision, and Values. The Library reserves the right to discontinue any program at any time.

Volunteer Led Programs

Decatur Public Library encourages and accepts donations of time and expertise to lead programs, with the understanding that the decision whether to conduct a program will be based on the above criteria and the Library reserves the right to not accept any volunteer program.

Reconsideration of Library Programs

Any citizen may request that the Library reconsider programs. Requests must be made in writing on the form provided for this purpose, Request for Reconsideration of Programs (see attached). The City Librarian, upon receipt of a formal complaint, will appoint an ad hoc committee of staff librarians to review the material in question and report their findings within one month or sooner if the time frame requires. In no cases will a reconsideration of a program occur if the request for reconsideration is received less than one week prior to the program. The City Librarian will use the findings of the committee to assist his or her decision regarding the retention of the program. The City Librarian shall include information on any formal complaints, and his or her decision with regard to the challenged programs, in the monthly report to the Library Board. The complainant will be notified in writing of the City Librarian's decision.

Review of Policy

This policy will be reviewed by the Board of Trustees at least once every three years. Approved by Decatur Public Library Board of Trustees April 18, 2019. Amended May 16, 2019. Reviewed April 21, 2022. Reviewed October 13, 2022.